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Naloxone 101

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  • What is naloxone?
    • Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan®, is a non-narcotic that is an antidote for opioid overdoses. If administered in a timely manner, naloxone can reverse the life-threatening respiratory failure that is usually the cause of overdose deaths. Naloxone has been proven effective in reversing overdoses caused by heroin and prescription medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, Methadone and Vicodin.
  • How can I get naloxone? Do I need a prescription?
    • You may find a location by looking at this map, No prescription is needed. A person seeking naloxone can ask the entity to use the state health commissioner’s statewide standing order.
  • How do I store naloxone?
    • Ideally, naloxone should be kept between 40° F and 80° F (5° C to 25° C) in a dark, dry place. Naloxone is sensitive to temperature, and prolonged storage at temperatures above or below those recommended by the manufacturer may decrease the effectiveness of the drug. If your naloxone is left in freezing temperatures, make sure you hold it in a warm hand to thaw it prior to using it. Naloxone stored at high temperatures may lose some of its effectiveness but can still be used in an emergency.
  • Do I need to call an ambulance if someone is overdosing?
    • Yes, call an ambulance immediately after you have administered the naloxone. Give rescue breaths and start CPR, if you know how, until the person is breathing on his or her own. Position the person on his or her side in the recovery position once breathing has resumed. If there is no response to the first dose, give a second dose. Tell the people in the ambulance that you gave naloxone and at what time and show them the dose.
  • Does naloxone harm someone if it was administered but was not needed?
    • No. Naloxone will not affect someone who has not ingested opioids.
  • How does naloxone affect someone who has used opioids?
    • Individuals who are using opioids may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, confusion, agitation or combativeness when given naloxone. Naloxone is not an opioid or a controlled substance and has no potential for abuse. Allergic reactions to naloxone have been reported but are extremely rare.
  • Does naloxone expire?
    • Naloxone has a shelf life of about two years. Make sure you check the expiration date listed on your naloxone and replace it if it has expired. If you are responding to an overdose and you notice that your naloxone has expired, you can still use it. Expired naloxone may still be effective enough to save a life and it will not hurt anyone if you use it.
  • How do I administer naloxone?

Contact Information:
Laura Hollowell
Naloxone Program Manager

Page last updated 4/11/22.